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Travel setbacks | Inflation, weak euro and car problems | Roadtrip USA (37)

Let me start with knowing we're still doing allright. We don't like to complain, we are and remain positive! However, we promised with Wereldreizigers.nl to be honest about traveling.Hence this honest blog. After all, more can be shared about travel than just the cool destinations and what to do. Although we had calculated that long-term travel would also present its challenges, you do not know in advance what those will be. You may notice that the setbacks are almost all financial in nature. The fierce inflation, the weak euro and car problems are eating at our budget.

We can therefore still speak of happiness. The setbacks aren't that big, at least nothing we can't handle. We are healthy and safe and that is the most important!

In this blog we take you, honestly, into our experiences with the setbacks.


The ultimate tour of North America

This article is part of a large one-year tour the United States en Canada in 2022, with a Dutch 4×4 camper that we shipped ourselves… It is a bucket list worthy and a once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten.

The ultimate roadtrip route through America and Canada | Wereldreizigers.nl
The ultimate roadtrip route through America and Canada | Wereldreizigers.nl

We wrote almost 100 articles about this ultimate tour. Below is a handy overview in 5 expandable categories.

1. Preparation
2. Highlights & Itineraries
3. Cities & places of interest (AZ)
4. National Parks & Monuments (AZ)
5. Plan your vacation to America here

Inflation

In The Netherlands it is also noticeable and therefore no one would have missed it, there is inflation. That simply means that today you can buy less for your euro or dollar than yesterday. This is already noticeable in the cities, but it is even more extreme in the rural areas. This is already strongly reflected in basic needs such as groceries.

A loaf of bread in this store costs 5 to 7 dollars - there was no other store near in Colorado
A loaf of bread in this store costs 5 to 7 dollars – there was no other store close by in Colorado
Milk cost almost $7 for 1,9 liters - there was no other store close by in Colorado
Milk cost almost $7 for 1,9 liters – there was no other store close by in Colorado

Our new situation, having less income, took some getting used to and inflation is adding to that. We think a lot about what we buy and what it's worth or not!

A 1,5-pound bag of chicken wings starts at $14 at Walmart
A 1,5-pound bag of chicken wings starts at $14 at Walmart

Inflation is in America has been a lot more intense in recent years than in the Netherlands, so that everything has actually become a lot more expensive compared to the Netherlands. This started long before the war Ukraine accelerated it.

depreciation euro

If you travel a long way, you may be lucky enough that your currency, the Euro, is worth more than any other currency. For a long time, the Euro has been worth about 20 percent more than the US Dollar. 

The US Dollar

When we visited the United States in 2016, we even received 1,25 USD per Euro. That was good for the wallet. When we planned our current trip in 2021, there was not such a big difference, then the Euro was worth just a little more (1,12 USD). So somewhat favourable.

Maybe you have it on it news heard that the value of the Euro has fallen. For the first time in twenty years, the value of a Euro is (almost) equal to that of a Dollar. So bad luck for us! You notice this difference of 15 or 20% with a holiday of a few weeks, let alone a trip of a year…

Euro vs dollar exchange rate in July 2022
Euro vs dollar exchange rate in July 2022

The Canadian Dollar

What is favorable: We are now a few days in Canada where they pay with the Canadian dollar. According to locals, we're lucky, because the value has gone down. One Euro is currently worth about 1,25 CAD.

Price increases after corona

In addition to inflation and the value of the Euro, there are also price increases after the pandemic in the tourism sector. This sector has been hit hard and has had to do its best to keep its head above water. Now that a lot is possible and open again, they need to make a financial catch up.

Less availability

In addition, the prices of accommodations and tourist activities have risen simply because they are in high demand. Many more Americans have started traveling in their own country, just like the Dutch. An example of what is in greater demand is camping pitches. If you travel with a camper or caravan, you are less dependent on others and services (hotel, restaurant, etc.) and the chance that your trip cannot take place is smaller.

In the United States today it is normal to charge 50 to 70 USD per night for a camping spot. That is unfortunately above our budget… You cannot spend a year on campsites, unless you can free up 25.000 euros extra for that.

Wild camping at Yellowstone National Park
Wild camping at Yellowstone National Park

Less comfort

As a result, we use wild camping sites more often than we had previously thought. Although you are sometimes in very beautiful places, as far as I am concerned it is sometimes less comfortable to travel. Sometimes you just want to have the facilities at hand, such as a good (better) shower and toilet.

Increase in fuel prices

Many Americans simply blame the 'idiot president' for rising fuel prices. It would be because he has investments in Shell and similar companies… A bit similar to the wild conspiracy theories of the farmer protests in the Netherlands at the moment, but we know better…

Also read: Column: Shootings, Trump crazies and political unrest

Cause

Several countries have been trying to reduce global oil production for some time by gradually raising prices and investing more in renewable energy. That is the future. Fewer new oil platforms are being built and no new pipelines are being built. This is something that has been going on for almost 10 years and now the war in Ukraine is added to this. Because of the war, countries no longer buy gas and oil from Russia, which has created a scarcity.

Also read: Goodbye Ukraine, be well

Calculation

When we started planning our trip last year, the diesel cost 85 cents a liter in the United States. That is now 1,60 per liter in many states. So the price has doubled. Chris calculated that in a year we would spend about 8.000 euros on diesel. If we make the calculation again, it will be about 15.000 Euros.

The diesel boozer
The diesel boozer

I almost faint upon hearing this estimate. As a result, we have made different choices, so that we have to drive a little less kilometers. We have changed our itinerary and drive less up and down, paying more attention to the number of kilometers we cover.

Also read: Our New Itinerary and Itinerary for America: An Update | Roadtrip USA (21)

Initially, the diesel would put us in Canada will cost even more, luckily it is not that bad so far and it is more or less equal to the diesel prices in the United States. Fortunately, the prices have dropped a bit here over the past few weeks. There are still areas where we will have to pay more, namely in British Columbia (CA) and California (USA). Fuel prices there are higher than average anyway.

Problems with the car / motorhome

Flying in car parts

Chris previously wrote an extensive blog detailing the overheating issues we faced along the way. Finding parts to solve this was challenging. Even the Mitsubishi dealers in America can't help us. We are forced to fly in parts, which is very expensive. Sending the radiator from the Netherlands cost about 200 euros in total – and that's just shipping and import costs. So the cost of the part is added on top of that.

Our camper in the garage in America
Our camper in the garage in America

Also read: Our Mitsubishi L200 camper has overheating problems | Roadtrip USA (25)

Every part, small or large, must therefore be Europe of Asia are flown in. This makes it unnecessarily expensive. We hadn't thought about this well enough in advance and we will therefore do this differently next time. We may exchange our Mitsubishi for a Toyota in the future, because parts are much easier to get for that worldwide.

Tip for other travelers: investigate whether your car is sold in the country of destination. If you need parts and/or repairs, this is easier and cheaper.

Cracked Steel

On top of that, our car also has trouble with the heavy set-up. The body of the pick-up is secured with four steel supports. Chris discovered that one had torn through and then we didn't dare to drive further. Luckily we found a garage that could weld it. When we had just been on the road for a few days, Chris discovered a new crack just next to the welded part. So in the last few weeks we have had to have some welding done at a garage, which also cost a lot of money and stress.

What now?

The car problems give us the most stress, because without a good and safe camper we can't go any further… We hold on to our hearts that things will continue to go well. Unfortunately we don't have the possibility to put another pick-up underneath. At the end of the trip we will have to consider whether to ship or sell the camper.

We cannot change the other matters above. What we can do is budget and adjust plans. Budgeting keeps us busy every day. Where can we find cheap(er) groceries? Do we drive extra kilometers or not? Are we going to do that activity or not? What does it cost and/or can it be done differently? 

A choice that we have already made is to spend less time in Canada and to make fewer kilometers in Canada. We did that because prices and diesel prices would be more expensive here. That is no longer the case! It is so changeable…

Which way are we going?
Which way are we going?

We often research and review our plans. We begin to wonder if we want to continue our journey through February: Do we want to spend that much money and travel the way we can afford? Or are we going to make different choices?

In short, put things into perspective, consider and make choices. So to be continued!


Plan your vacation to America here


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Malou

From an early age 👶 I have been fascinated by distant travels and other cultures. Seen many a country 🗺️, but certainly not ready yet! At this age (31) I often think about how to organize my life further. When I travel, I quickly let go of that and I can fully enjoy the here and now 🧘.
At home 🏠 I have a job in childcare, but at the moment I have a year off to go on an adventure with my husband Chris and the camper 🚐 in the US 🇺🇸 and Canada 🇨🇦

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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